Ramblings From Enterprise Connect #EC12

Cloud, technology populism, video, and integrated solutions were in evidence throughout the show. Here is what I learned or conformed at Enterprise Connect 2012:

  • Cloud is happening. Buyer interest is and has been up, service providers are investing, and OEMs are enabling. At the show, SPs from 8x8 and M5 (now part of ShoreTel) to AT&T and Verizon were demoing capabilities. SIs, including well-known names from BlacBox to Presidio to HP, were talking about cloud too. Many OEM vendors did not discuss the channel implications made obvious by SI and SP discussion of cloud services — although NEC made ease of doing business for the channel one of the tenets of its cloud discussion. If I were a solution vendor, I would spend more time discussing where my solutions could be purchased and the role for my sales force, since buyers who attend Enterprise Connect in droves want to know where and how they can buy cloud solutions.
  • The real story here is consumerization or technology populism. Personal cloud services have enabled information workers to be a decision AND buying center for all types of communications and collaboration. Although we talk about smartphones and tablets in discussing technology populism, unified communications and fixed mobile convergence were the examples on display at this show. Buyers (including information workers and traditional technology managers) today need to know how to integrate Box, Google Docs, SalesForce, and other services into their business processes that depend on communications.
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Social Technologies Are Here to Stay — But CIOs Must Tread Carefully!

In my previous post, I highlighted how social technologies will drive businesses to focus on the complete customer experience and why organizations must plan ahead to stay competitive. We expect most organizations to increase their investments in social technologies. But to drive business value (and reduce risks), CIOs must be proactive in managing the coming invasion of consumer-driven social technology.

  • Expect investments in social technologies to grow across Asia Pacific. Discussions with both IT buyers and vendors confirm that social technology adoption and usage are growing across the region. The data below shows the likelihood to spend on social technologies over the coming year. Economies like Malaysia (92%), Korea (86%), and India (70%) are most keen on spending, whereas Australia (31%), China (30%), and Singapore (26%) all lag. This is likely due to growth economies like Malaysia and India ramping up their initial investments in areas like collaboration and knowledge management, both of which are already well-established in more mature IT markets like Australia and Singapore. China stands out as an anomaly among other mature markets chiefly because of language-specific needs.
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The Big Deal About Big Data for Customer Engagement — We Are Keen To Hear From You!

We’ve all heard, spoken about, or at least mentioned big data as a key trend for the technology industry in the past year. While it’s a no-brainer that big data is definitely affecting businesses today, little has been said about its relevance and how it affects consumer engagement. In an effort to make sense of this hype and decode the impact of big data on organizations’ relationships with customers, I’ve decided to write a report entitled “The Big Deal About Big Data For Customer Engagement.” Yes, big data is definitely a big deal — in fact, it’s a bigger deal if not handled with prudence!

To better understand this space, I’m keen to engage with both vendors and senior decision-makers at organizations that are either currently grappling with big data or planning to launch a project to manage this situation.

Once I hear from you, I or one of my colleagues will reach out to you with a premise document that covers the main questions that I would like to discuss with you during the course of a 30-minute interview. Just to share with you, we are looking at conducting these interviews over the next month. It goes without saying — but it’s best when said — we will honor all requests for confidentiality and will send you a copy of the report when it is published.

Please leave a comment with your contact details or send me an email at sgogia (at) forrester (dot) com.

Avaya Acquires Radvision

Avaya announced its intention and agreement to purchase Radvision today. These two technological powerhouses have the combined brainpower to put together some of the most advanced unified communications solutions in the world. Radvision’s experience in building complex modular communication components plus Avaya’s strength in delivering complete, reliable communications solutions is an appealing combination. The strengths of this combination include:

  • Breadth of open technologies. Radvision’s H.323 and SIP stacks will combine neatly with Avaya’s Aura architecture to enable a wide range of interoperable communications solutions from varying vendors built on multiple old and new technologies.
  • Video portfolio. Radvision’s Scopia videoconferencing portfolio (from  desktop to telepresence) extends Avaya’s current partner-driven video endpoint model.
  • The cloud. Radvision’s service provider relationships gives Avaya a firmer footing from which to sell cloud solutions to service providers.

Issues that management will have to deal with in the combined company:

  • Cultural fit. Avaya’s consensus-driven and collaborative culture may not provide the direction Radvision’s developers got used to within Radvision’s traditional command and control structure.
  • Revenue growth. Radvision has been on a slide. The Avaya/Radvision combination will have to open new markets and increase win rates to pay back the $230 million purchase price — approximately three times Radvision’s annual revenue.
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Mobility In The Middle East: Enterprise Adoption Is Poised For Takeoff

Enterprises in the Middle East are increasingly aware of the strategic value of mobility to enable or enhance business processes, particularly as they focus less on concerns over compatibility and uniformity. Oman Air’s recent deployment of SITA’s resource management solution for its 2,500 employees at Muscat International Airport is a clear example. The solution will provide a platform for planning, rostering, management, and real-time scheduling of work tasks and enable communication of tasks via mobile devices and monitoring of operational status and billing information in real time.

But as the perceived importance of supporting mobility increases over the next two years, we expect more organizations in the region to re-evaluate their mobile technology choices. After 10 years of using BlackBerry, Halliburton, a major energy provider headquartered in Dubai, decided to switch 4,500 of its employees to the iPhone as its preferred platform for expanding mobile technology usage by giving employees secure access to internal applications from outside the corporate network. In addition to security, compatibility, and access, organizations will increasingly evaluate mobile OS platform support for developing and localizing their own applications, e.g., developing applications in Arabic.

Below I’ve highlighted several of the drivers of further mobility adoption for enterprises in the Middle East:

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Cloud's Impact On IT Operations: Don't Overlook Your Legacy

Cloud computing has provided opportunities for organizations of all kinds to reduce the risks associated with IT acquisition (software and hardware), expand in sync with business needs, and contain costs. Some have even evolved their internal IT department from a reactive cost center to a more proactive service delivery center. Over the past two or three years, the very same cloud computing model that has helped CIOs deliver these benefits has also resulted in many IT organizations becoming more focused on auditing, inspecting, reviewing, and modernizing their internal IT capabilities. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, there has been little to no forethought about how internal IT can be extended to embrace public clouds. In effect, IT organizations have so far turned a blind eye to external cloud solutions and focused instead on delivering internal (or private) cloud functionality.

Increasingly, organizations will try to replicate the value of cloud by modernizing, restructuring, and reimplementing their existing IT architectures using cloud concepts such as self-provisioning, elasticity, multitenancy, service-oriented architecture (SOA), and virtualization. Their well-meaning intent is to convert their existing siloed, massive, and underutilized IT systems to a better and efficiently connected cloud (private) environment.

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